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Curriculum

Physics Curriculum

Physics is a discipline that seeks to explain the behavior of the natural world with a comprehensive set of fundamental laws.

Success in physics requires a keen analytical mind, a strong desire to understand the fundamental principles of nature, and the ability to work hard and persevere.

A physics major earned in the context of a liberal arts education prepares the student for a wide variety of careers. Scientific careers in universities, research laboratories, and industry are the most obvious opportunities, but the training that a physicist receives in analytical reasoning prepares one for a career in medicine, engineering, law, and business as well.

Problem-solving ability combined with knowledge of computer programming also leads to careers in computer science and computer programming.

Bachelor of Arts in Physics

The Bachelor of Arts degree is for the student interested in studying physics, but who is likely to pursue a career in a related field, or a field which requires an analytical mind.

Bachelor of Science in Physics

The Bachelor of Science degree is for those planning a career in physics or engineering, and for those considering going on to graduate school.

Bachelor of Science in Engineering Physics

A student interested in a degree in engineering, but who also wants the benefits of a liberal arts education can elect the engineering physics major. Students take 3 years of rigorous science at Randolph and then 2 years with one of our partner engineering schools, graduating with 2 degrees.

Bachelor of Arts in Physics Education

Students who are interested in teaching high school physics take physics classes along with professional courses in the education department.

Minor in Physics

The minor in physics is appropriate for students in any major program who wish to add an scientific perspective to their chosen field.

Minor in Engineering

The minor in engineering is appropriate for students in any major program who wish to add an applied science perspective to their chosen field.

Course Offerings

Below is a list of available courses offered by the Physics Program. Consult the Registrar’s Office and the College Catalog for registration information.

PHYS 1102 - Science Outreach

This is a hands-on, experiential, cultural learning course for science enthusiasts. Students will build science demonstration apparatuses, learn about the educational benefits, and actually go out in the field and do science demonstration shows and classes in the Lynchburg area. Students will participate in 42 hours of outreach activities per credit hour. Credit hours: .5 or 1. Offered on a Pass/Fail basis only. May be repeated for credit up to a maximum of four credits.

PHYS 1105 - Introductory Physics I

An algebra-based introduction to fundamental topics in physics, including mechanics, thermodynamics, wave motion, and electromagnetism. Credit hours: 3. Co- or Pre-requisite: MATH 1119 or equivalent or permission of instructor. Calculus is not required. (NS,QR)

PHYS 1105L - Introductory Physics I Laboratory

Laboratory Laboratory work and experiments related to topics studied in Physics 1105. Credit hours: 1. Corequisite or prerequisite: PHYS 1105 or the equivalent. (NS)

PHYS 1106 - Introductory Physics Ii

An algebra-based introduction to fundamental topics in physics, including mechanics, thermodynamics, wave motion, and electromagnetism. Credit hours: 3. Co- or Pre-requisite: MATH 1119 or equivalent or permission of instructor. Calculus is not required. (NS,QR)

PHYS 1106L - Introductory Physics Ii Laboratory

Laboratory Laboratory work and experiments related to topics studied in Physics 1106. Credit hours: 1. Corequisite or prerequisite: PHYS 1106 or the equivalent. (NS)

PHYS 1115 - General Physics I

Classical mechanics, heat, and electromagnetism. A calculus-based presentation of basic physical principles for students interested in the sciences or mathematics. Credit hours: 3. Prerequisite or corequisite: MATH 1149 or the equivalent. (NS, QR)

PHYS 1115L - General Physics I Laboratory

Laboratory work and experiments related to the topics studied in Physics 1115. Credit hours: 1. Corequisite or prerequisite: PHYS 1115 or the equivalent. (NS)

PHYS 1116 - General Physics Ii

Classical mechanics, heat, and electromagnetism. A calculus-based presentation of basic physical principles for students interested in the sciences or mathematics. Credit hours: 3. Prerequisite or corequisite: MATH 1149 or the equivalent. (NS, QR)

PHYS 1116L - General Physics Ii Laboratory

Laboratory work and experiments related to the topics studied in Physics 1116. Credit hours: 1. Corequisite or prerequisite: PHYS 1116 or the equivalent. (NS)

PHYS 1117L - Topics N General Physics Lab

Laboratory work and experiments related to the topics studied in General Physics including fluids, waves, optics, and rotation. Credit hours: 1. Corequisite or prerequisite: PHYS 1116 or the equivalent. (NS)

PHYS 2216 - Statics

This course focuses on external (both applied and reactive) and internal forces on rigid bodies or particles that are stationary or moving with constant velocity. These concepts are applied to simple trusses, frames, and machines. Credit hours: 4. Prerequisite: PHYS 1115.

PHYS 2251 - Relativity & Intro To Quantum Mechanics

Topics include special relativity, rotational mechanics, wave/particle duality, the Bohr model of hydrogen, and an introduction to quantum mechanics. Credit hours: 4. Prerequisite: PHYS 1116, MATH 1150.

PHYS 2256 - Green Engineering Design

Hours credit for each semester: 1 or 2. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

PHYS 2285 - Phys One Time Only

Physics One time only course

PHYS 2286 - Phys One Time Only

Physics one time only course

PHYS 2290 - Independent Study

PHYS 3301S - Dif Equa Scientists Engineers

Introduction to ordinary and partial differential equations. Topics include first order equations, mathematical modeling, qualitative methods (slope fields, phase plots, equilibria, and stability), numerical methods, second and higher order equations, series solutions, Laplace transforms, Fourier series, and systems of linear differential equations. Course also covers partial differential equations, such as the heat equations, the wave equations, and Laplace's equation. Credit hours: 4. Prerequisite: MATH 1150 or the equivalent. Offered summers. (QR)

PHYS 3302 - Quantum Mechanics

A continued study of quantum mechanics including important one-dimensional applications and the hydrogen atom. Credit hours: 4. Prerequisite: PHYS 2251.

PHYS 3331 - Electronics Laboratory

A lecture laboratory course with emphasis on practical applications. Includes hands-on experience in building and testing electronic circuits and devices, and an introduction to digital logic, digital electronics, and computer interfacing. Credit hours: 4. Prerequisite: PHYS 1116, 1116L; MATH 1150. (WI)

PHYS 3332 - Advanced Physics Laboratory

A lecture laboratory with experiments in various branches including optics and lasers of physics with emphasis on modern physics. Includes the study of physical systems through computer simulations and modeling as well as advanced techniques in data analysis. Credit hours: 4. Prerequisite: PHYS 2251, MATH 1150. (WI)

PHYS 3341 - Classical Mechanics

Topics include solutions of Newtonian equations of motion, Lagrangian and Hamiltonian dynamics. Credit hours: 4. Prerequisite: PHYS 3302 and MATH 2250; 3331. MATH 3331 may be a corequisite.

PHYS 3361 - Electromagnetic Theory

A study of classical electromagnetic theory, including electrostatic and magnetostatic fields, Maxwell's equations, and electromagnetic plane waves. Credit hours: 4. Prerequisite: PHYS 1116 and MATH 2250; 3331.

PHYS 3371 - Topics In Theoretical Physics

Topics selected from classical mechanics, electromagnetic theory, quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, optics, or other subjects of interest. Credit hours: 4. Prerequisite: PHYS 3302. May be repeated for credit when topic differs.

PHYS 3378 - Classical & Statistical Thermodynamics

An introduction to thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, including review of important topics from statistics and probability, statistical description of particle systems, calculation of thermodynamic quantities, quantum statistics of ideal gases, and other basic methods and results of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. Identical with CHEM 3378. Credit hours: 3. Prerequisite: MATH 1150 and PHYS 1116 (WI, when both lecture and lab are passed).

PHYS 3378L - Classical & Statistical Thermo Lab

Laboratory experiments that supplement concepts presented in Chemistry/ Physics 3378, with an emphasis on professional writing in ACS format. Identical with Chemistry 3378L. Credit hours: 1. Corequisite: CHEM/PHYS 3378. (WI, when both lecture and lab are passed).

PHYS 3390 - Independent Study

PHYS 3394 - Research Topics In Physics

Students take part in research projects in conjunction with a faculty member in a field of mutual interest and learn research and problem solving methods. Research results are written up in formal lab reports and in some cases will be published. Credit hours: 1, 2, 3 or 4. Prerequisite: permission of the Department. May be repeated for credit up to a maximum of twelve hours.

PHYS 3398H - Honors In The Major

PHYS 4474 - Quantum Mechanics Ii

Quantum mechanics including postulates and formalism, angular momentum, and spin. Credit hours: 4. Prerequisite: PHYS 3302 and MATH 2241 and 3331.

PHYS 4494 - Senior Research

Students complete individualized research projects. Research results are presented in a formal paper and an oral presentation before faculty and students. Credit hours: 1 or 4. Prerequisite: permission of the Department.

PHYS 4495 - Seminar I

The seminar requires students to explore the areas of their personal interest in physics in order to inform their choice of research, graduate school, and employment. Students are also asked to make connections across topics in physics through a review of the major ideas in mechanics, electricity and magnetism, relativity, and quantum mechanics, culminating in a comprehensive final examination in physics. PHYS 4495 focuses on careers; PHYS 4496 focuses on topics. Credit hours: .5. Prerequisite: permission of the Department.

PHYS 4496 - Seminar Ii

The seminar requires students to explore the areas of their personal interest in physics in order to inform their choice of research, graduate school, and employment. Students are also asked to make connections across topics in physics through a review of the major ideas in mechanics, electricity and magnetism, relativity, and quantum mechanics, culminating in a comprehensive final examination in physics. PHYS 4495 focuses on careers; PHYS 4496 focuses on topics. Credit hours: .5. Prerequisite: permission of the Department.

PHYS 4497H - Honors In The Major

PHYS 4498H - Honors In The Major

PHYS 4499H - Honors In The Major

ASTR 1101 - Introductory Astronomy: The Solar System

An introduction to astronomy, including naked-eye astronomy, the historical development of astronomical models, and basic astrophysical principles with a focus on our solar system and the growing number of examples of extrasolar systems. Credit hours: 3. (NS,QR)

ASTR 1101L - Introductory Astronomy:solar System Lab

Laboratory work and exercises related to topics studied in Astronomy 1101. No previous laboratory experience is assumed. Credit hours: 1. Prerequisite or corequisite: ASTR 1101. (NS)

ASTR 1103 - Introductory Astronomy: Cosmology

An introduction to astronomy, including naked-eye astronomy, the historical development of astronomical models, and basic astrophysical principles with a focus on astronomy outside of our solar system including surveying the stars, galactic dynamics, and the beginnings and fate of the universe. Credit hours: 3. (NS,QR)

ASTR 1103L - Introductory Astronomy: Cosmology Lab

Laboratory work and exercises related to topics studied in Astronomy 1103. No previous laboratory experience is assumed. Credit hours: 1. Prerequisite or corequisite: ASTR 1103. (NS)

ASTR 3394 - Research Topics In Astronomy

This course is a research course in astronomy in which the topics will change from semester to semester. The student will take part in a research project in conjunction with a faculty member in a field of mutual interest. The student will learn research and problem solving methods. Research results are written up in formal lab reports and in some cases will be published. A student can take the Research Topics course multiple times. Credit hours 1, 2, 3, or 4. Prerequisites: ASTR 1103, permission of the Department. May be repeated for credit up to a maximum of 12 credit hours.

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